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Project management certification can boost your career. Here are the best online courses.

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A certificate showing that you’ve mastered a project management program can show bosses and potential employers in nearly any field that you have these crucial skills and that you’re not playing around.

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Taking a project management certification course can give you a huge leg up in the workplace. Becoming certified in project management can increase your salary, help you to become better organized, help you to become a more effective team leader, and improve the quality of your work. Regardless of your industry, a project management certificate shows employers that you possess valuable management skills. 

The benefits of project management certification

A certification in project management can give you an edge when you’re searching for a new job, looking to get promoted, or looking to take on more responsibility at the office. When negotiating salary, a project management certification can really work in your favor. 

There are also, of course, many ways in which a class in project management can improve the quality of your work. Project management courses teach you how to take a project from idea to completion, by breaking the process down into clear steps: initiation, planning, execution, monitor, closure, and risk management. You’ll learn best practices for project management, leading to better performance and a boost in productivity. 

Becoming certified in project management can build trust with your managers, so they could be willing to hand over more complicated projects for you to execute. 

Types of project management certifications

There are several approaches to project management that you will come across when researching the right course for you. It’s good to know what kind of approach your workplace or desired workplaces uses before signing up for a class. The most popular approaches are Agile, Scrum, and Six Sigma.

Agile is widely used in software development, while Scrum is typically used by technology companies use to increase teamwork, and Six Sigma is an approach to business that helps to improve work and product quality.

Why online?

An online course is a great way to get your project management certification, especially if you’re working full time, have a family, or just want the flexibility. You’ll be able to work at your own pace, so if you’re an early bird or a night owl, you can use that time to get classwork done. It’s a timesaver, as you won’t have to spend time commuting to a campus, and you’ll be able to log onto classes from the comfort of your home, from the library, or from wherever your heart desires.

Read on to learn about some of the top online project management certification courses, and to find out which is right for you. 


Rave reviews • Comprehensive • Widely-accredited course material
Some users have said that the end of the course reflected 31 hours, not 35 • Some students found the class boring
This may be one of the best classes to take if you’re looking for a top-tier project management certification.

Project Management Professional (PMP® ) – 35 Contact Hours

This is a great way to improve your résumé, and you probably won’t have to look further after you take this course.

  • Tech Specs:
    31 hours on-demand video, 613 downloadable resources
  • Price:
    $199.99
  • Certification:
    Udemy Certificate of Completion and 35 Hours toward PMP certification from PMI

Project Management Institute (PMI) is one of the most widely-recognized organizations for project management. This Udemy course qualifies as a certified PMI provider, and you’ll earn all 35 Contact Hours toward the PMP® certification from PMI.
In this 31-hour class, which is suitable for beginners, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of the official Project Management best practices and reach a point where you’re able to demonstrate proficiency in the PMP principles, techniques, and tools required to be a successful lead on a project. By taking part in downloadable classes, practicing in quick quizzes, and taking a practice PMP® Certification Exam, you’ll learn the details and practices involved with starting a project, delivering your goals, and closing a project successfully.
This class is ideal for both existing project managers and new managers interested in improving their skills and getting certified in the key project management concepts, as well as aspiring project managers. 


Easy access to instructor for extra help • No long-term commitment • Two month free trial
No live Q&A • Additional education may be desired
Get to know Scrum with this A-to-Z class.

Scrum Fundamentals for Beginners

Learn Scrum enough to have a functioning knowledge of the framework and put a certificate on your résumé.

  • Tech specs:
    4 hours 31 minutes, 40 lectures, optional class project
  • Price:
    $19 per month or $99 per year for Skillshare Premium
  • Certification:
    Udemy Certificate of Completion in Scrum

With 40 lectures adding up to 4 hours and 31 minutes of instruction, this class is a great introduction to Scrum. You’ll have the option of further solidifying your knowledge by participating in a class project as well.
In this crash course, you’ll learn the Scrum Fundamentals, Scrum Principles, Scrum Tools or “Artifacts,” and the key Scrum concepts, including real-world examples and templates. It’s a beginner course, but it’s comprehensive.
You’ll learn how to deliver projects quickly and on budget focusing on results, collaboration, teamwork, and excellence. 
Your lecturer will be available for questions and concerns 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with quick response times, and promises students that they’ll leave the course Scrum-certified.
This is a Skillshare course, and Skillshare is a membership platform. You’ll pay $1 for your first two months as a Skillshare Premium member, giving you access to this class and thousands more, and $19 per month or $99 per year after that.


Lots of material • Learn on your phone • Show off your skills on your LinkedIn profile by earning badges • The site will recommend courses based on your interests
No reliable instructor support • May take some weeding to find the best and most recent courses • Some additional education may be needed
This is a longer course, but it’s comprehensive and will recommend further classes when you’re finished.

Become a Six Sigma Yellow Belt

Become certified in Six Sigma, and easily show off your accomplishments on your LinkedIn profile.

  • Tech specs:
    13 hours, eight items of learning content, great for résumé
  • Price:
    $19.99/month
  • Certification:
    Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification

Earn your yellow belt in Six Sigma with this 13-hour course on LinkedIn Learning. The yellow belt certification is for project team members, and while there’s no need to follow the order of the four certification tiers, it’s the first step in getting acquainted with the Six Sigma approach. 
You’ll learn the fundamentals of the Lean Six Sigma methodology and how to help your team navigate more complex process improvement projects. This class will aid you in identifying and practicing essential Lean Six Sigma techniques, applying operational excellence to processes and services, and developing skills from project management to statistics.
The lectures are taught by experts in their field. LinkedIn Learning offers more than 15,000 expert-led courses, and users will love that the modules and activities can be accessed anytime via computer or phone, making learning easy to do on your commute or even from the comfort of your bed. One of the most helpful aspects of LinkedIn Learning is that its algorithm will suggest the best classes for you to take next to help you further in your career development. 


Great reviews • Easy to understand • In-depth coverage
Lots of repetition • A lot of time spent on possible jobs and salary benefits of knowing Scrum
This class is a lot more in-depth than other beginner Scrum classes.

With 13 hours of lectures, you’ll get to know Scrum well in this course. You’ll learn to master all the different Scrum tools and concepts, as well as the Scrum Values, Scrum Principles, and Scrum Pillars. You’ll get a comprehensive knowledge of Scrum and be able to take what you learned and apply it to your business or team. 
No previous Scrum knowledge is necessary to take this class. The practice test helps to solidify what you’ve learned, and you’ll also get full lifetime access for both mobile and TV and 81 downloadable resources, so you can refresh your memory throughout your career. 


Run by an accredited university • Comprehensive
Takes five months • Pricier than other options
This comprehensive class goes in-depth in teaching Scrum and Agile techniques, as well as other techniques.

Agile Project Management

Of the courses on this list, this will probably look the best on a resume.

  • Tech specs:
    5 skill-building courses, 5 months long
  • Price:
    $995
  • Certification:
    USMx- and UMD-backed Agile Project Management Professional Certificate

Run by the University of Maryland, this edX class will take you five months, but it will look great on your résumé. 
This class covers Scrum mechanics and Agile frameworks such as SAFe, Disciplined, and LeSS. You’ll gain a deep understanding of Agile principles and how to apply them to any industry in which you end up working. 
You’ll focus on reducing the risk of project failure using Agile’s results-based framework, increase your productivity and speed using Lean Kanban and Agile techniques, and more. The course even goes into the use of hybrid techniques such as Lean Startup, Scaled Agile For the Enterprise (SAFe), and Disciplined Agile Development.  
The course employs experts to run its five-class program. 


Great for those acquainted with Six Sigma • 20 hours of material • Learn from your mobile device
No reliable instructor help • More education may be desired
This is great for project managers who want to work on their professional development.

Becoming a Six Sigma Black Belt

This is a great way to become a Black Belt in Six Sigma at your own pace.

  • Tech specs:
    20-plus hours, 14 learning items
  • Price:
    $19.99/month
  • Certification:
    Six Sigma Black Belt Certification

Become a pro at Six Sigma with a Black Belt. The Black Belt is the second highest tier in Six Sigma, only to be outranked by the Master Black Belt, which enables holders to train Green Belts and Black Belts. The Black Belt is for project managers.
Learn to apply Six Sigma methodology to specific projects in this course. Black Belt students will review foundational Six Sigma course work, explore and practice Six Sigma methodology, and demonstrate the principles, philosophies, and tool usage. 
This 20-hour course will round out your Six Sigma knowledge and aid you in project management. You’ll even be directed to courses to take afterwards to aid in your professional development.


Hands-on • Course projects and assignments • 38% of students started a new career after completing this specialization, and 19% received a pay increase or promotion
Assignments are lengthy
This course may give you the most comprehensive understanding of project management, though it doesn’t focus on any particular methodology.

Project Management Principles and Practices Specialization

This isn’t the class to take if you’re looking to learn specifically Agile, Scrum, or Six Sigma, but it will teach you very valuable project management skills.

  • Tech specs:
    Five month course, flexible schedule, hands-on project
  • Price:
    $33.25-49/month
  • Certification:
    UCI-backed shareable printable and online certificate of completion

This five-month course (based on one hour per week of course work) will help you hit the ground running as a project manager after completion. This intensive and hands-on series of courses gives you the skills to complete superior projects on time and on budget. 
Students will gain a strong working knowledge of the basics of project management and be able to immediately put that knowledge to practical use to effectively manage projects in the office. The course focuses on aiding students in identifying and managing the product scope, building a work breakdown structure, creating a project plan, creating the project budget, defining and allocating resources, managing the project development, identifying and managing risks, and understanding the project procurement process.
The hands-on approach allows students to see how their new knowledge can be applied in the real world. 

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The Trump campaign celebrated a growth record that Democrats downplayed.

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The White House celebrated economic growth numbers for the third quarter released on Thursday, even as Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential campaign sought to throw cold water on the report — the last major data release leading up to the Nov. 3 election — and warned that the economic recovery was losing steam.

The economy grew at a record pace last quarter, but the upswing was a partial bounce-back after an enormous decline and left the economy smaller than it was before the pandemic. The White House took no notice of those glum caveats.

“This record economic growth is absolute validation of President Trump’s policies, which create jobs and opportunities for Americans in every corner of the country,” Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign said in a statement, highlighting a rebound of 33.1 percent at an annualized rate. Mr. Trump heralded the data on Twitter, posting that he was “so glad” that the number had come out before Election Day.

The annualized rate that the White House emphasized extrapolates growth numbers as if the current pace held up for a year, and risks overstating big swings. Because the economy’s growth has been so volatile amid the pandemic, economists have urged focusing on quarterly numbers.

Those showed a 7.4 percent gain in the third quarter. That rebound, by far the biggest since reliable statistics began after World War II, still leaves the economy short of its pre-pandemic levels. The pace of recovery has also slowed, and now coronavirus cases are rising again across much of the United States, raising the prospect of further pullback.

“The recovery is stalling out, thanks to Trump’s refusal to have a serious plan to deal with Covid or to pass a new economic relief plan for workers, small businesses and communities,” Mr. Biden’s campaign said in a release ahead of Thursday’s report. The rebound was widely expected, and the campaign characterized it as “a partial return from a catastrophic hit.”

Economists have warned that the recovery could face serious roadblocks ahead. Temporary measures meant to shore up households and businesses — including unemployment insurance supplements and forgivable loans — have run dry. Swaths of the service sector remain shut down as the virus continues to spread, and job losses that were temporary are increasingly turning permanent.

“With coronavirus infections hitting a record high in recent days and any additional fiscal stimulus unlikely to arrive until, at the earliest, the start of next year, further progress will be much slower,” Paul Ashworth, chief United States economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note following the report.

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Black and Hispanic workers, especially women, lag in the U.S. economic recovery.

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The surge in economic output in the third quarter set a record, but the recovery isn’t reaching everyone.

Economists have long warned that aggregate statistics like gross domestic product can obscure important differences beneath the surface. In the aftermath of the last recession, for example, G.D.P. returned to its previous level in early 2011, even as poverty rates remained high and the unemployment rate for Black Americans was above 15 percent.

Aggregate statistics could be even more misleading during the current crisis. The job losses in the initial months of the pandemic disproportionately struck low-wage service workers, many of them Black and Hispanic women. Service-sector jobs have been slow to return, while school closings are keeping many parents, especially mothers, from returning to work. Nearly half a million Hispanic women have left the labor force over the last three months.

“If we’re thinking that the economy is recovering completely and uniformly, that is simply not the case,” said Michelle Holder, an economist at John Jay College in New York. “This rebound is unevenly distributed along racial and gender lines.”

The G.D.P. report released Thursday doesn’t break down the data by race, sex or income. But other sources make the disparities clear. A pair of studies by researchers at the Urban Institute released this week found that Black and Hispanic adults were more likely to have lost jobs or income since March, and were twice as likely as white adults to experience food insecurity in September.

The financial impact of the pandemic hit many of the families that were least able to afford it, even as white-collar workers were largely spared, said Michael Karpman, an Urban Institute researcher and one of the studies’ authors.

“A lot of people who were already in a precarious position before the pandemic are now in worse shape, whereas people who were better off have generally been faring better financially,” he said.

Federal relief programs, such as expanded unemployment benefits, helped offset the damage for many families in the first months of the pandemic. But those programs have mostly ended, and talks to revive them have stalled in Washington. With virus cases surging in much of the country, Mr. Karpman warned, the economic toll could increase.

“There could be a lot more hardship coming up this winter if there’s not more relief from Congress, with the impact falling disproportionately on Black and Hispanic workers and their families,” he said.

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Ant Challenged Beijing and Prospered. Now It Toes the Line.

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As Jack Ma of Alibaba helped turn China into the world’s biggest e-commerce market over the past two decades, he was also vowing to pull off a more audacious transformation.

“If the banks don’t change, we’ll change the banks,” he said in 2008, decrying how hard it was for small businesses in China to borrow from government-run lenders.

“The financial industry needs disrupters,” he told People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper, a few years later. His goal, he said, was to make banks and other state-owned enterprises “feel unwell.”

The scope of Mr. Ma’s success is becoming clearer. The vehicle for his financial-technology ambitions, an Alibaba spinoff called Ant Group, is preparing for the largest initial public offering on record. Ant is set to raise $34 billion by selling its shares to the public in Hong Kong and Shanghai, according to stock exchange documents released on Monday. After the listing, Ant would be worth around $310 billion, much more than many global banks.

The company is going public not as a scrappy upstart, but as a leviathan deeply dependent on the good will of the government Mr. Ma once relished prodding.

More than 730 million people use Ant’s Alipay app every month to pay for lunch, invest their savings and shop on credit. Yet Alipay’s size and importance have made it an inevitable target for China’s regulators, which have already brought its business to heel in certain areas.

These days, Ant talks mostly about creating partnerships with big banks, not disrupting or supplanting them. Several government-owned funds and institutions are Ant shareholders and stand to profit handsomely from the public offering.

The question now is how much higher Ant can fly without provoking the Chinese authorities into clipping its wings further.

Excitable investors see Ant as a buzzy internet innovator. The risk is that it becomes more like a heavily regulated “financial digital utility,” said Fraser Howie, the co-author of “Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise.”

“Utility stocks, as far as I remember, were not the ones to be seen as the most exciting,” Mr. Howie said.

Ant declined to comment, citing the quiet period demanded by regulators before its share sale.

The company has played give-and-take with Beijing for years. As smartphone payments became ubiquitous in China, Ant found itself managing huge piles of money in Alipay users’ virtual wallets. The central bank made it park those funds in special accounts where they would earn minimal interest.

After people piled into an easy-to-use investment fund inside Alipay, the government forced the fund to shed risk and lower returns. Regulators curbed a plan to use Alipay data as the basis for a credit-scoring system akin to Americans’ FICO scores.

China’s Supreme Court this summer capped interest rates for consumer loans, though it was unclear how the ceiling would apply to Ant. The central bank is preparing a new virtual currency that could compete against Alipay and another digital wallet, the messaging app WeChat, as an everyday payment tool.

Ant has learned ways of keeping the authorities on its side. Mr. Ma once boasted at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, about never taking money from the Chinese government. Today, funds associated with China’s social security system, its sovereign wealth fund, a state-owned life insurance company and the national postal carrier hold stakes in Ant. The I.P.O. is likely to increase the value of their holdings considerably.

“That’s how the state gets its payoff,” Mr. Howie said. With Ant, he said, “the line between state-owned enterprise and private enterprise is highly, highly blurred.”

China, in less than two generations, went from having a state-planned financial system to being at the global vanguard of internet finance, with trillions of dollars in transactions being made on mobile devices each year. Alipay had a lot to do with it.

Alibaba created the service in the early 2000s to hold payments for online purchases in escrow. Its broader usefulness quickly became clear in a country that mostly missed out on the credit card era. Features were added and users piled in. It became impossible for regulators and banks not to see the app as a threat.

ImageAnt Group’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China.
Credit…Alex Plavevski/EPA, via Shutterstock

A big test came when Ant began making an offer to Alipay users: Park your money in a section of the app called Yu’ebao, which means “leftover treasure,” and we will pay you more than the low rates fixed by the government at banks.

People could invest as much or as little as they wanted, making them feel like they were putting their pocket change to use. Yu’ebao was a hit, becoming one of the world’s largest money market funds.

The banks were terrified. One commentator for a state broadcaster called the fund a “vampire” and a “parasite.”

Still, “all the main regulators remained unanimous in saying that this was a positive thing for the Chinese financial system,” said Martin Chorzempa, a research fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

“If you can’t actually reform the banks,” Mr. Chorzempa said, “you can inject more competition.”

But then came worries about shadowy, unregulated corners of finance and the dangers they posed to the wider economy. Today, Chinese regulators are tightening supervision of financial holding companies, Ant included. Beijing has kept close watch on the financial instruments that small lenders create out of their consumer loans and sell to investors. Such securities help Ant fund some of its lending. But they also amplify the blowup if too many of those loans aren’t repaid.

“Those kinds of derivative products are something the government is really concerned about,” said Tian X. Hou, founder of the research firm TH Data Capital. Given Ant’s size, she said, “the government should be concerned.”

The broader worry for China is about growing levels of household debt. Beijing wants to cultivate a consumer economy, but excessive borrowing could eventually weigh on people’s spending power. The names of two of Alipay’s popular credit functions, Huabei and Jiebei, are jaunty invitations to spend and borrow.

Huang Ling, 22, started using Huabei when she was in high school. At the time, she didn’t qualify for a credit card. With Huabei’s help, she bought a drone, a scooter, a laptop and more.

The credit line made her feel rich. It also made her realize that if she actually wanted to be rich, she had to get busy.

“Living beyond my means forced me to work harder,” Ms. Huang said.

First, she opened a clothing shop in her hometown, Nanchang, in southeastern China. Then she started an advertising company in the inland metropolis of Chongqing. When the business needed cash, she borrowed from Jiebei.

Online shopping became a way to soothe daily anxieties, and Ms. Huang sometimes racked up thousands of dollars in Huabei bills, which only made her even more anxious. When the pandemic slammed her business, she started falling behind on her payments. That cast her into a deep depression.

Finally, early this month, with her parents’ help, she paid off her debts and closed her Huabei and Jiebei accounts. She felt “elated,” she said.

China’s recent troubles with freewheeling online loan platforms have put the government under pressure to protect ordinary borrowers.

Ant is helped by the fact that its business lines up with many of the Chinese leadership’s priorities: encouraging entrepreneurship and financial inclusion, and expanding the middle class. This year, the company helped the eastern city of Hangzhou, where it is based, set up an early version of the government’s app-based system for dictating coronavirus quarantines.

Such coziness is bound to raise hackles overseas. In Washington, Chinese tech companies that are seen as close to the government are radioactive.

In January 2017, Eric Jing, then Ant’s chief executive, said the company aimed to be serving two billion users worldwide within a decade. Shortly after, Ant announced that it was acquiring the money transfer company MoneyGram to increase its U.S. footprint. By the following January, the deal was dead, thwarted by data security concerns.

More recently, top officials in the Trump administration have discussed whether to place Ant Group on the so-called entity list, which prohibits foreign companies from purchasing American products. Officials from the State Department have suggested that an interagency committee, which also includes officials from the departments of defense, commerce and energy, review Ant for the potential entity listing, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Ant does not talk much anymore about expanding in the United States.

Ana Swanson contributed reporting.

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